Customers are scrambling to reclaim their freshly pressed clothes from a beloved Windsor Terrace dry cleaning shop after it was shuttered by the city marshal for not paying its rent.
A handwritten note on the door of Swan Dry Cleaners on Prospect Park West informs patrons that clothes can only be picked up Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2 pm and 7 pm.
The arrangement is the collateral damage from one year of unpaid rent and subsequent eviction of the shop’s owners by the marshal, said landlord, Louis Thompson.
“They were given six months to give everyone their clothes back, but they chose not to,” he said. “So now I’m here trying to get the clothes back.”
So Tuesdays and Thursdays on the block between 16th Street and Windsor Place are now the best time to catch people picking up their shirts — and grousing over the demise of the much-loved cleaners.
“Once they lost my son’s suit pants and they went out to Macy’s and bought him a new pair,” recalled Windsor Terrace resident Adele Infortunio, a customer for six years. “They are good people.”
Customer John Purin also heaped praise on the business. “I could have gone elsewhere, but they were always friendly and I got my stuff quickly,” he said.
But when Purin went to pick up his shirts over the weekend, instead of the sweet smile of shop owner Lusia Kim, he was met with the icy stare of a steel gate, adorned with a marshal’s notice, indicating the property was seized by the landlord.
“I was pissed off that customers get caught in the middle between a landlord and the business,” he said.
Kim’s daughter, Jane said that Thompson had raised the rent to $5,000 back in 2007, and it has been a struggle to keep up.
“It was harder, it was different,” she said. “It got to be too much.”
She said her mother, who speaks little English, and been crying and even hospitalized since the city marshal intervened. “She is in shock,” her daughter said.
Kim vowed to keep her former customers happy, and said she would deliver clothes if a patron cannot retrieve the items personally.
Thompson said he would continue to open the shop every Tuesday and Thursday for at least the next 30 days. “We’ll do this as long as it takes,” he said.
Former customers can call Jane Kim at (646) 306-6601 for information or to arrange a pick-up.